Well-seasoned cooks will appreciate the challenge presented by today’s food holiday. August 29 is National More Herbs, Less Salt Day!
It’s also National Chop Suey Day and National Lemon Juice Day. Wow, lots going on today! We decided Chop Suey is too fake (it’s Americanized Chinese food, kind of like the fortune cookie) and lemon juice is too easy, so we’re increasing the herbs and putting down the salt shaker today.
More Herbs, Less Salt Day promotes a healthier lifestyle by encouraging us to use fresh herbs in place of salt, which – as wonderfully as it adds zip to food – isn’t the healthiest ingredient in the world, especially for those with high blood pressure. Granted, there are some foods that absolutely need salt. Certain cuts of meat benefit from a nice dose of salt to bring out their flavors, for instance. And for me at least, I can’t imagine eating popcorn without it. I tend to enjoy savory, zesty flavors, and salt is definitely a mainstay, though I try to keep it in moderation.
“Try” being the key word.
Interestingly, this is one of the few food holidays that was created by a company – specifically, Wellcat Holidays and Herbs, founded by Thomas and Ruth Roy – and is actually copyrighted. A note on their website says we are supposed to obtain permission to use their holidays in any fashion. Maybe we should have stuck with chop suey! No, I did not contact them first. I figure, I’m doing them a favor by generating free publicity!
Most herbs belong to either the mint family (basil, oregano, rosemary, sage) or the carrot family (dill, parsley, cilantro). Late August is an excellent time to celebrate this holiday, as fresh herbs are at their very peak. They have been used for centuries for cooking, medicinal, and even spiritual purposes. They are distinguishable from vegetables because they are used in small amounts and provide flavor, rather than substance, to food. They are nutritionally insignificant but a great way to boost, or enhance, flavors. Hence, today’s holiday!
To celebrate, Tara and I took different approaches. Tara dished up some cottage cheese and liberally added Mrs. Dash, probably the most well-known herb-based salt substitute out there. I scrambled up some eggs and did the same. I have to say, the cottage cheese was really good. Probably because it’s naturally salty. The eggs? Well…they needed salt. But I resisted! And we’ll make an effort through the remainder of the day, as well.